Weekly Highlight: 30.09.2008

Denmark:

Majority support for abolishing shop law
29.09.2008 Print article (IE & NS 4+)
 
The Conservatives vote to abolish a law which keeps the majority of shops closed on Sundays.
Laws forcing stores to close on Sundays appear to be on their way out, after the Conservative Party changed its policy to offer support for a liberalisation of the shop law.
Delegates to the Conservative national convention voted on Saturday in favour of abolishing the law. The Conservatives have traditionally supported the law to protect smaller businesses, and many of their members are business owners and shop keepers.
Parliament is scheduled to take up the shop law next. Without the support of the Conservatives, the prime minister’s Liberal Party and its ally, the Danish People’s Party, no longer have a majority for keeping the laws in place.
Currently, most stores must close on Sundays – with the exception of the first Sunday of the month, Sundays in December and six additional Sundays. Businesses with a smaller turnover are also allowed to remain open on Sundays.
Conservative commerce spokesman Mike Legarth was in no doubt about the new party line.
‘I personally believe that we as Conservatives can’t set limits on when a shop should be open and when consumers can shop,’ Legarth told public broadcaster DR. (kr)

Finland:

Many Finns Admit to Doing Illegal Work
Published 28.09.2008, 16.57

One in four Finns would be ready to circumvent taxes by doing work off the books, according to a new study. A quarter of those surveyed admitted that in fact, they have already done so.
The poll was commissioned by the newspaper Aamulehti and conducted by the financial pollster Taloustutkimus.
Young people and those in lower income brackets were the most ready to participate in a little black-market work.
In addition, people who live in Lapland were considerably more open to the idea than residents of other provinces. This may be because the region has a great need of seasonal and temporary workers for its tourism industry.
Markku Hirvonen, a Finance Ministry expert on shady bookkeeping, says that the IT and stock market trading sectors present a particular challenge, because people are more adept at covering their tracks.

Netherlands:

70% fail to prepare for interviews
Monday 29 September 2008

Some 70% of people going for a job interview in the Netherlands do little or nothing to prepare, according to a survey by jobs site nationalevacaturebank.nl.
Only half do even the most minimum in terms of preparation and just 27% put on smart clothes. The website says the tight job market in Holland has made interviewees lazy.

Norway:

Conservative U-turn on alcohol liberalization
First published: 22 Sep 2008, 12:16

The existing alcohol policy has reduced consumption and resulted in less alcohol related illness in Norway than in other countries. To liberalize alcohol rules would be irresponsible, concludes Høyre’s public health policy committee.
Previously, the Conservatives have been in favour of allowing the sale of wine in super markets, lower taxes on alcohol and longer opening hours. At present only beer may be sold in local shops. Wines and spirits are only available in government owned stores run by the state monopoly Vinmonopolet.
“The change of policy is the result of well-documented research which shows that alcohol-related illness increases with availability,” says Høyre spokesman, Inge Lønning.
“This doesn’t mean that we want to become more restrictive. In general, we think that the way things are at the moment represents the best solution,” says Lønning to daily newspaper Aftenposten.
Next year’s party congress will decide whether to adopt the committees’ suggestion.

Sweden:

Teachers report sexism common in Swedish schools
Published: 25 Sep 08 08:22 CET

A new survey shows that 73 percent of Sweden’s teachers feel they’ve experienced disturbing examples of sexism while on the job.
In addition, 58 percent of the teachers surveyed said that they hadn’t received adequate training or preparation in questions related to basic values.
Every fourth teacher also reports that they witnessed situations at school relating to racism, xenophobia, sexism and/or homophobia.
The results come from a study carried out by the Sifo polling firm on behalf of the National Union of Teachers (Lärarnas riksförbund) and published in an article by union chair Metta Fjelkner and Eva Swartz, head of the Natur & Kultur foundation, in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.
Sifo conducted in-depth interviews with 500 elementary and high school teachers about their views on how schools deal with issues related to basic values.
Nearly 90 percent believe their own schools aren’t especially active and nearly one in three say the leadership at their schools aren’t actively engaged in questions of basic values.

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